A Philadelphia family began a court battle on Thursday with the U.S. Treasury over ownership of 10 'double eagle' gold coins from 1933.
The daughter and grandsons of jeweler Israel Switt (d. 1990) say they are the rightful heirs of the cache of coins---worth perhaps $80 million or more---found in his safety deposit box in 2003.
One similar coin sold at a Sotheby's auction for $7.6m in 2002.
Treasury officials maintain that the coins were never circulated and had been stolen from the U.S. Mint in 1933. The U.S. government seized the family's coins when they went in to have them authenticated.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard in 1933. The batch of 'double eagles' was melted down except for two in the Smithsonian collection, and a handful that mysteriously disappeared.
A lawyer for the family says that the coins could have left the Mint legally since it was permissible to swap gold coins for gold bullion.